Withies and lobster pot making

The making of lobster pots was a flourishing industry with pots being sent as far afield as Ireland.

Marshy land at Sudmore, to the east of the village, was ideal for growing willows – or withies. The pliable shoots were cut in January each year and stacked in large sheds. Later they were trimmed to size, the ends sharpened, then they were woven into cunningly-shaped baskets from which no lobster could exit.

The same wetlands that provided withies for lobster pots provided candle rushes for giving light. The practice was to nearly strip the rushes (not the leaves), leaving one thin strip for rigidity. The pith (kept intact with its strip) was dipped in mutt on fat which could then be lit.

A ‘keep’ used for freshly caught prawns. Made out of withies and preserved with tar. If a fisherman hadn’t caught enough prawns to sell, the catch was kept alive submerged in the keep until required.